First Church of Tom Peters


“First Church of Tom Peters” by Cole Wakefield

Any of you who know me know that my favorite management guru is Tom Peters. Tom is an advocate of good design and innovative thinking in corporate America. Tom is no flaky fad-of-the-moment either. His first book, In Search of Excellence, was a best seller when it was published in 1982. NPR even named it one of the top three business books of the century. I discovered Tom when I picked up a copy of his new revolutionary work: Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age. Follow that link for a free chapter. Tom took his book and broke in down into a smaller manifesto called Tomato, Toma[h]to!. If you haven’t seen it, download it.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Tomato, Toma[h]to!

They say “We can’t handle this much change.”
I say “Your job and career are in jeopardy; what other options do you have?”

They say “What’s wrong with a ‘good product’?”
I say Wal*Mart or China or both are about to eat your lunch. Why can’t you provide instead a Fabulous Experience?

They say the Web is a “useful tool.”
I say the Web changes everything. Now.

They say Great Design is “nice.”
I say Great Design is “necessary.”

They say “We can’t all be Revolutionaries.”
I say “Why not?”

They say “We need more steady, loyal employees.”

They say “We need Good People.”
I say “We need Quirky Talent.”

They say “Market share.”
I say “Market CREATION.”

They say they favor a “team” that works & lives in “harmony.”
I say “Give me a raucous brawl among the most creative people imaginable.”

They say they want recruits with “spotless records.”
I say “The Spots are what matter most.”

They say “Of course we believe in marketing.”
I say “Is your Web site Sooooo Cool, Sooooo Fresh, Sooooo Friendly to Use that it gives you goose pimples just to e-visit, even though you’ve seen it 1,000 times?”

They say “Employees need Well-defined Structure.”
I say “Talent should be encouraged to embark on
Quests to the Unknown.”

They say lifetime employment was a boon.
I say lifetime employment was Indentured Servitude, modern-day Slavery.

They say “Think about it.”
I say “Try it.”

They say “Plan it.”
I say “Test it.”

They say “Radical change takes a decade.”
I say “Radical change takes a Minute.”


3 Responses to “First Church of Tom Peters”

  1. these are catchy quotes, and i like them. some of them also scary. 🙂 because they entail some level of newness and risk. those things are good…and yet unknown. so they hold great possibility and potential and hope.

    do we have to have a raucous brawl? how about a peaceful collaboration, even when we can’t all agree?

  2. 2 ColeWake

    There were a couple times in the Young Adult group where things came close to raucous brawl and those momente yielded some of the best stuff we came up with. I also think those moments strenghtened us. Even when we were fighting we still loved and respected one another as valuable contributors to the project.

  3. 3 bhall

    it seems to me that newness and risk require even more listening, i’m reading a good book on listening right now for continuing education requirements (you can buy the book at Cokesbury)

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